British model 1853 Enfield rifled musket, 1853-1866

Caption: British model 1853 Enfield rifled musket, 1853-1866

The model 1853 was a muzzle-loading percussion lock rifled musket. It was a significant technological advance in British infantry weapons at the time. The weapon fired a conical ‘Minie-pattern’ bullet that allowed this rifled musket to fire far faster than earlier rifles. The 'Enfield' in the weapon's name refers to the fact that it was made at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, Middlesex. Unlike earlier weapons, Enfield rifles were mass-produced in a custom-built factory. Parts were made to be interchangeable from one weapon to another. Earlier weapons had been custom made, and replacement parts had to be altered to fit any given example. The model 1853 Enfield was replaced in British army service by the Snider-Enfield breechloader in 1866. (Parks Canada)